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Initiation of Candidate

 Native American Nations | The Midē Wiwin or Grand Medicine Society                   

The candidate removes to the vicinity of the Midē´wigân so as to be able to go through the ceremony of purgation four times before the day of initiation. The sudatory having been constructed on the usual site, east of the large structure, he enters it on the morning of the fifth day preceding the initiation and after taking a sweat-bath he is joined by the preceptor, when both proceed to the four entrances of the Midē´wigân and deposit at each a small offering of tobacco. This procedure is followed on the second and third days, also, but upon the fourth the presents are also carried along and deposited at the entrances, where they are received by assistants and suspended from the rafters of the interior. On the evening of the last day, the chief and officiating priests visit the candidate and his preceptor, in the sweat-lodge, when ceremonial smoking is indulged in followed by the recitation of Midē´ chants. The following (Pl. XVI, A) is a reproduction of the chant taught to and recited by the candidate. The original was obtained from an old mnemonic chart in use at Mille Lacs, Minnesota, in the year 1825, which in turn had been copied from a record in the possession of a Midē´ priest at La Pointe, Wisconsin. Many of the words are of an older form than those in use at the present day. Each line may be repeated ad libitum.


Plate XVI.a. Mnemonic Song.
 

Ni-ka´-ni-na´, ni-ka´-ni-na´, ni-ka´-ni-na´,
     I am the Nika´ni, I am the Nika´ni, I am the Nika´ni,
man´-i-dō wig´-i-wam win´-di-ge´-un.
     I am going into the sacred lodge.
[The speaker compares himself to the Bear Man´idō, and as such is represented at the entrance of the Midē´wigân.]
 
Ni-ka´-ni-na´, ni-ka´-ni-na´, ni-ka´-ni-na´,
     I am the Nika´ni, I am the Nika´ni, I am the Nika´ni,
ni-kan´-gi-nun´-da wé-mĭ-dŭk´.
     I “suppose” you hear me.
[The lines from the ear denotes hearing; the words are addressed to his auditors.]
 
Wâ´, he-wa´-ke-wa ke-wâ´, he-wa´-ke-wâ´, wâ´.
     He said, he said.
Signifies that Ki´tshi Man´idō, who is seen with the voice lines issuing from the mouth, and who promised the Ani´shinâ´bēg “life,” that they might always live.
Rest. A ceremonial smoke is now indulged in.
We´-shki-nun´-do-ni-ne´,
ke-nosh´-ki-nun´-do-ni-ne´.
     This is the first time you hear it.
[The lines of hearing are again shown; the words refer to the first time this is chanted as it is an intimation that the singer is to be advanced to the higher grade of the Midē´wiwin.]
 
Hwe´-na-ni-ka he-na´, he-nō´
mi-tē´-win-win´ gi´-ga-wa´-pi-no-dōn´.
     You laugh, you laugh at the “grand medicine.”
[The arms are directed towards Ki´tshi Man´idō, the creator of the sacred rite; the words refer to those who are ignorant of the Midē´wiwin and its teachings.]
 
Nun-te´-ma-ne´, hē´, wi´-na-nun´-te-ma-ne´
ki´-pi-nan´.
     I hear, but they hear it not.
[The speaker intimates that he realizes the importance of the Midē´ rite, but the uninitiated do not.]
 
Pe´-ne-sŭi´-a ke´-ke-kwi´-yan.
     I am sitting like a sparrow-hawk.
The singer is sitting upright, and is watchful, like a hawk watching for its prey. He is ready to observe, and to acquire, everything that may transpire in the Midē´ structure.

Upon the conclusion of the chant, the assembled Midē´ smoke and review the manner of procedure for the morrow’s ceremony, and when these details have been settled they disperse, to return to their wig´iwams, or to visit Midē´ who may have come from distant settlements.

Early on the day of his initiation the candidate returns to the sudatory to await the coming of his preceptor. The gifts of tobacco are divided into parcels which may thus be easily distributed at the proper time, and as soon as the officiating priests have arrived, and seated themselves, the candidate produces some tobacco of which all present take a pipeful, when a ceremonial smoke-offering is made to Ki´tshi Man´idō. The candidate then takes his Midē´ drum and sings a song of his own composition, or one which he may have purchased from his preceptor, or some Midē´ priest. The following is a reproduction of an old mnemonic song which the owner, Sikas´sige, had received from his father who in turn had obtained it at La Pointe, Wisconsin, about the year 1800. The words are archaic to a great extent, and they furthermore differ from the modern language on account of the manner in which they are pronounced in chanting, which peculiarity has been faithfully followed below. The pictographic characters are reproduced in Pl. XVI, B. As usual, the several lines are sung ad libitum, repetition depending entirely upon the feelings of the singer.


Plate XVI.b. Mnemonic Song.
 
Hin´-to-nâ-ga-ne´ o-sa-ga-tshī´-wēd o-do´-zhi-tōn´.
     The sun is coming up, that makes my dish.
The dish signifies the feast to be made by the singer. The zigzag lines across the dish denote the sacred character of the feast. The upper lines are the arm holding the vessel.
 
Man´-i-dō i´-ya-nē´, ish´-ko-te´-wi-wa´-we-yan´.
     My spirit is on fire.
The horizontal lines across the leg signify magic power of traversing space. The short lines below the foot denote flames, i.e., magic influence obtained by swiftness of communication with the Man´idōs.
 
Ko´tshi-hâ-ya-nē´, nē´,
ish´-ki-to´-ya-ni´, nin-do´-we-hē´, wi´-a-we-yan´.
     I want to try you, I am of fire.
[The zigzag lines diverging from the mouth signify voice, singing; the apex upon the head superior knowledge, by means of which the singer wishes to try his Midē´ sack upon his hearer, to give evidence of the power of his influence.]
A pause. Ceremonial smoking is indulged in, after which the chant is continued.
Ni-mī´-ga-sim´-ma man´-i-dō, sa-ko´-tshi-na´.
     My mī´gis spirit, that is why I am stronger than you.
The three spots denote the three times the singer has received the mī´gis by being shot; it is because this spirit is within him that he is more powerful than those upon the outside of the wigiwam who hear him.
 
Mī´-ga-ye´-nin en´-dy-ân, ya´, hō´, ya´, man´-i-dō´-ya.
     That is the way I feel, spirit.
The speaker is filled with joy at his power, the mī´gis within him, shown by the spot upon the body, making him confident.
 
Ya-gō´-sha-hī´, nâ´, ha´, ha´,
Ya-gō´-sha-hi´, man´-i-dō-wi´-yĭn.
     I am stronger than you, spirit that you are.
[He feels more powerful, from having received three times the mī´gis, than the evil spirit who antagonizes his progress in advancement.]

Upon the completion of this preliminary by the candidate, the priests emerge from the wig´iwam and fall in line according to their official status, when the candidate and preceptor gather up the parcels of tobacco and place themselves at the head of the column and start toward the eastern entrance of the Midē´wigân. As they approach the lone post, or board, the candidate halts, when the priests continue to chant and drum upon the Midē´ drum. The chief Midē´ then advances to the board and peeps through the orifice near the top to view malevolent Man´idōs occupying the interior, who are antagonistic to the entrance of a stranger. This spot is assumed to represent the resting place or “nest,” from which the Bear Man´idō viewed the evil spirits during the time of his initiation by the Otter. The evil spirits within are crouching upon the floor, one behind the other and facing the east, the first being Mi-shi´-bi-shi´—the panther; the second, Me-shi´-kĕ—the turtle; the third, kwin´-go-â´-gĭ—the big wolverine; the fourth, wâ´-gŭsh—the fox; the fifth, ma-in´-gŭn—the wolf; and the sixth, ma-kwa´—the bear. They are the ones who endeavor to counteract or destroy the good wrought by the rites of the Midē´wiwin, and only by the aid of the good Man´idōs can they be driven from the Midē´wigân so as to permit a candidate to enter and receive the benefits of the degree. The second Midē´ then views the group of malevolent beings, after which the third, and lastly the fourth priest looks through the orifice. They then advise the presentation by the candidate of tobacco at that point to invoke the best efforts of the Midē´ Man´idōs in his behalf.

It is asserted that all of the malevolent Man´idōs who occupied and surrounded the preceding degree structures have now assembled about this fourth degree of the Midē´wigân to make a final effort against the admission and advancement of the candidate: therefore he impersonates the good Bear Man´idō, and is obliged to follow a similar course in approaching from his present position the entrance of the structure. Upon hands and knees he slowly crawls toward the main entrance, when a wailing voice is heard in the east which sounds like the word hān´, prolonged in a monotone. This is ge´-gi-si´-bi-ga´-ne-dât Man´idō. His bones are heard rattling as he approaches; he wields his bow and arrow; his long hair streaming in the air, and his body, covered with mī´gis shells from the salt sea, from which he has emerged to aid in the expulsion of the opposing spirits. This being the information given to the candidate he assumes and personates the character of the Man´idō referred to, and being given a bow and four arrows, and under the guidance of his preceptor, he proceeds toward the main entrance of the structure while the officiating priests enter and station themselves within the door facing the west. The preceptor carries the remaining parcels of tobacco, and when the candidate arrives near the door he makes four movements with his bow and arrow toward the interior, as if shooting, the last time sending an arrow within, upon which the grinning spirits are forced to retreat toward the other end of the inclosure. The candidate then rushes in at the main entrance, and upon emerging at the south suddenly turns and again employs his bow and arrow four times toward the crowd of evil Man´idōs, who have rushed toward him during the interval that he was within. At the last gesture of shooting into the inclosure, he sends forward an arrow, deposits a parcel of tobacco and crouches to rest at the so-called “bear’s nest.” During this period of repose the Midē´ priests continue to drum and sing. Then the candidate approaches the southern door again, on all fours, and the moment he arrives there he rises and is hurried through the inclosure to emerge at the west, where he turns suddenly, and imitating the manner of shooting arrows into the group of angry Man´idōs within, he at the fourth movement lets fly an arrow and gets down into the western “bear’s nest.” After a short interval he again approaches the door, crawling forward on his hands and knees until he reaches the entrance, where he leaves a present of tobacco and is hastened through the inclosure to emerge at the northern door, where he again turns suddenly upon the angry spirits, and after making threatening movements toward them, at the fourth menace he sends an arrow among them. The spirits are now greatly annoyed by the magic power possessed by the candidate and the assistance rendered by the Midē´ 263 Man´idōs, so that they are compelled to seek safety in flight. The candidate is resting in the northern “bear’s nest,” and as he again crawls toward the Midē´wigân, on hands and knees, he deposits another gift of a parcel of tobacco, then rises and is hurried through the interior to emerge at the entrance door, where he turns around, and seeing but a few angry Man´idōs remaining, he takes his last arrow and aiming it at them makes four threatening gestures toward them, at the last sending the arrow into the structure, which puts to flight all opposition on the part of this host of Man´idōs. The path is now clear, and after he deposits another gift of tobacco at the door he is led within, and the preceptor receives the bow and deposits it with the remaining tobacco upon the pile of blankets and robes that have by this time been removed from the rafters and laid upon the ground midway between the sacred Midē´ stone and the first Midē´ post.

The chief Midē´ priest then takes charge of the candidate, saying:

Mi´-a-shi´-gwa wi-ka´-we-a´-kwa-mŭs-sin´-nŭk. Mī´-a-shi´-gwa
Now is the time [to take] the path that has no end Now is the time
wi-kan´-do-we-ân´ mi´-ga-ī´-zhid wen´-  dzhi-bi-mâ´-dis.
I shall inform you [of] that which I was told the reason I live.

To this the second Midē´ priest remarks to the candidate, Wa´-shi-gân´-do-we-an´ mi-gai´-i-nŏk´ wa´-ka-no´-shi-dzin—which freely translated signifies: “The reason I now advise you is that you may heed him when he speaks to you.” The candidate is then led around the interior of the inclosure, the assistant Midē´ fall in line of march and are followed by all the others present, excepting the musicians. During the circuit, which is performed slowly, the chief Midē´ drums upon the Midē´ drum and chants. The following, reproduced from the original, on Pl. XVII, B, consists of a number of archaic words, some of which are furthermore different from the spoken language on account of their being chanted, and meaningless syllables introduced to prolong certain accentuated notes. Each line and stanza may be repeated ad libitum.


Plate XVII.b. Mnemonic Song.
 
Man´-i-dō, hē´, nē´-yē´, man´-i-dō, hē´, nē´, yē´,
ēn´-da-na´-bi-yĕn wen´-dō-bi´-yĕn.
     A spirit, a spirit, you who sit there, who sit there.
[The singer makes a spirit of the candidate by thus giving him new life, by again shooting into his body the sacred mīgis. The disk is the dish for feast of spirits in the dzhibai´ Midē´wigân—“Ghost Lodge,” the arms reaching towards it denoting the spirits who take food therefrom. The signification is that the candidate will be enabled to invoke and commune with the spirits of departed Midē´, and to learn of hidden powers.]
 
He´-ha-wa´-ni, yē´, he´-ha-wa´-ni, yē´,
na´-bi-nesh´-ga-na´-bi, hī´, hē´.
These words were chanted, while the following are those as spoken, apart from the music.
Â-wan´-ō-de´-no-wĭn nī´-bi-dĕsh´-ka-wĭn un´-de-no´-wĭn.
     The fog wind goes from place to place whence the wind blows.
[The reason of the representation of a human form was not satisfactorily explained. The preceptor felt confident, however, that it signified a Man´īdō who controls the fog, one different from one of the a-na´-mi-ki´, or Thunderers, who would be shown by the figure of an eagle, or a hawk, when it would also denote the thunder, and perhaps lightning, neither of which occurs in connection with the fog.]
Rest.
Man´-i-dō´-we ni´-mi-nan´ ku-ni´-ne man-to´-ke ni´-mi-ne´.
     I who acknowledge you to be a spirit, and am dying.
The figure is an outline of the Midē´wigân with the sacred Midē´ stone indicated within, as also another spot to signify the place occupied by a sick person. The waving lines above and beneath the oblong square are magic lines, and indicate magic or supernatural power. The singer compares the candidate to a sick man who is seeking life by having shot into his body the mī´gis.
 
Ga-kwe´-in-nân´ tshi-ha´-gĕ-nâ´ ma-kwa´ ni-go´-tshi-ni´.
     I am trying you who are the bear.
The Midē´ who is chanting is shown in the figure; his eyes are looking into the candidate’s heart. The lines from the mouth are also shown as denoting speech, directed to his hearer. The horns are a representation of the manner of indicating superior powers.
 
Pĭ-nē´-si ka´-ka-gī´-wai-yan´ wen´-dzhi man´-i-dō´wid.
     The bird, the crow bird’s skin is the reason why I am a spirit.
Although the crow is mentioned, the Thunder-bird (eagle) is delineated. The signification of the phrase is, that the speaker is equal in power to a Man´idō, at the time of using the Midē´ sack—which is of such a skin.
 
Tshin-gwe´-wi-he´-na nē´, kan´, tshi-wâ´-ba-ku-nēt´.
     The sound of the Thunder is the white bear of fire.
The head is, in this instance, symbolical of the white bear Man´idō; the short lines below it denoting flame radiating from the body, the eyes also looking with penetrating gaze, as indicated by the double waving lines from each eye. The white bear Man´idō is one of the most powerful Man´idōs, and is so recognized.
 

By the time this chant is completed the head of the procession reaches the point of departure, just within the eastern door, and all of the members return to their seats, only the four officiating Midē´ remaining with the candidate and his preceptor. To search further that no malevolent Man´idōs may remain lurking within the Midē´wigân, the chief priests lead the candidate in a zigzag manner to the western door, and back again to the east. In this way the path leads past the side of the Midē´ stone, then right oblique to the north of the heap of presents, thence left oblique to the south of the first-degree post, then passing the second on the north, and so on until the last post is reached, around which the course continues, and back in a similar serpentine manner to the eastern door. The candidate is then led to the blankets, upon which he seats himself, the four officiating priests placing themselves before him, the preceptor standing back near the first of the four degree posts.

The Midē´ priest of the fourth rank or place in order of precedence approaches the kneeling candidate and in a manner similar to that which has already been described shoots into his breast the mī´gis; the third, second and first Midē´ follow in like manner, the last named alone shooting his mī´gis into the candidate’s forehead, upon which he falls forward, spits out a mī´gis shell which he had previously secreted in his mouth, and upon the priests rubbing upon his back and limbs their Midē´ sacks he recovers and resumes his sitting posture.

The officiating priests retire to either side of the inclosure to find seats, when the newly received member arises and with the assistance of the preceptor distributes the remaining parcels of tobacco, and lastly the blankets, robes, and other gifts. He then begins at the southeastern angle of the inclosure to return thanks for admission, places both hands upon the first person, and as he moves them downward over his hair says: Mi-gwĕtsh´ ga-o´-shi-tō´-ĭn bi-mâ´-dĭ-sĭ-win—“Thanks, for giving to me life.” The Midē´ addressed bows his head and responds, hau´, ēn´,—yes when the newly admitted member steps back one pace, clasps his hands and inclines his head to the front. This movement is continued until all present have been thanked, after which he takes a seat in the southeastern corner of the inclosure.

A curious ceremony then takes place in which all the Midē´ on one side of the inclosure arise and approach those upon the other, each grasping his Midē´ sack and selecting a victim pretends to shoot into his body the mī´gis, whereupon the Midē´ so shot falls over, and after a brief attack of gagging and retching pretends to gain relief by spitting out of his mouth a mī´gis shell. This is held upon the left palm, and as the opposing party retreat to their seats, the side which has just been subjected to the attack moves rapidly around among one another as if dancing, but simply giving rapid utterance to the word hŏ´, hŏ´, hŏ´, hŏ´, hŏ´, hŏ´,  and showing the mī´gis to everybody present, after which they place the flat hands quickly to the mouth and pretend again to swallow their respective shells. The members of this party then similarly attack their opponents, who 266 submit to similar treatment and go through like movements in exhibiting the mī´gis, which they again swallow. When quiet has been restored, and after a ceremonial smoke has been indulged in, the candidate sings, or chants, the production being either his own composition or that of some other person from whom it has been purchased. The chant presented herewith was obtained from Sikas´sigĕ, who had received it in turn from his father when the latter was chief priest of the Midē´wiwin at Mille Lacs, Minnesota. The pictographic characters are reproduced on Pl. XVII, A, and the musical notation, which is also presented, was obtained during the period of my preliminary instruction. The phraseology of the chant, of which each line and verse is repeated ad libitum as the singer may be inspired, is as follows:


Plate XVII.a. Mnemonic Song.
 
Do-nâ´-ga-nī´, Na´-wa-kwe´ in-do´-shi-tōn´, do-nâ´-ga-nī´.
     My dish, At noon I make it, my dish.
The singer refers to the feast which he gives to the Midē´ for admitting him into the Midē´wiwin.
 
 

Do-na-ga-ni, Do-na-ga-ni, Do-na-ga-ni, Do-na-ga-ni,
Do-na-ga-ni, Do-na-ga-ni; Na-´kwa-wē´, In-do-shi-tōn Donagani,
Donaga-ni, Do-na-ga-ni, Do-na-ga-ni, Do-na-ga-ni, Do-na-ga-ni.
 
Man´-ī-dō´ i-yan-nī´, Esh-ko´-te nin´-do-we´-yo-wĭn´,
     I am such a spirit, My body is made of fire.
His power reaches to the sky, i.e., he has power to invoke the aid of Ki´tshi Man´idō. The four degrees which he has received are indicated by the four short lines at the tip of the hand.
 
 

Ma´ni-dō-i-ya-ni, Ma´ni-dō-i-ya-ni, Ma´ni-dō-i-ya-ni,
Ma´ni-dō-i-ya-ni, Ma´ni-dō-i-ya-ni;
Esh´ko-te nin-do we-yo-win, Manidōiya-ni, Ma´ni-dō-i-ya-ni,
Ma´ni-dō-i-ya-ni, Ma´ni-dō-i-ya-ni.
 
Kŏ´-tshi-hai´-o-nī´,
Esh-ko´-te wa-ni´-yō.
     I have tried it, My body is of fire.
He likens himself to the Bear Man´idō, and has like power by virtue of his mī´gis, which is shown below the lines running downward from the mouth. He is represented as standing in the Midē´wigân—where his feet rest.
 
 
Ko´tshi-hai´o-ni, Ko´tshi-hai´o-ni, Ko´tshi-hai´o-ni,
Ko´tshihai´oni, Ko´tshi-hai´o-ni, Ko´tshi-hai´o-ni,
Ko´tshi-hai´o-ni, Ko´tshi-hai´o-ni, Esh´kote´wani´yo, Ko´tshihaioni.
Ko´tshihai´oni, Kotshihaioni, hĕ´ō, hĕ´ō.
Pause. An offering of smoke is made to Ki´tshi Man´idō.
Ni-mī´-gi-sĭm´ man´-i-dō´-we, hwē´, hē´,
Sha´-go-dzhĭ´-hi-na´.
     My mī´gis spirit, I overpower death with.
[His body is covered with mī´gis as shown by the short lines radiating from the sides, and by this power he is enabled to overcome death.]
 
 
Nimegasi mani dō-wē, hwē, hē, Nimegasi mani dō-wē, hwē, hē,
Shagodzhihinani-mega-si, Manido-wē, hwē, hē.
Ni-me-ga-si-ma-ni-dō-wē, hwē, hē.
 
Ni´-ka-ni´ nin-man´-e-dō´-we-ya´.
Ya´-ho-ya´ man´-i-dō´-wa nin-da´-ho-ha´.
     That is the way with me, spirit that I am.
[The hand shows how he casts the mī´gis forward into the person requiring life. He has fourfold power, i.e., he has received the mī´gis four times himself and is thus enabled to infuse into the person requiring it.]
 
 
Ni´-ga-ne´ nin ma´ni-dō´we ya
Ni´-ga-ne´ nin ma´ni-dō´we ya,
Ya´ho-ya´ ma´nidō-we,
Nin´dohōha ni´gane, ma´ni-dō-we, ya, hē.
 
Ē-kotsh´-i-na´-ha,
Ē-kotsh´-ha man´-i-dō´ hwe-do´-wī.
     I hang it, I hang up the Spirit sack.
[After using his Midē´ sack he hangs it against the wall of the Midē´wigân, as is usually done during the ceremonial of initiation.]
 
 
E-ko´tshi-na-ha, E-ko´tshi-na-ha, E-ko´tshi-na-ha,
E-ko´-tshi-na-ha, E-ko´-tshi-na-ha,
E-ki´-tshi-ma´-ni-dō´ hwe-do-wi, E-ko´tshi-na-ha,
E-ko´tshi-na-ha, E-ko´tshi-na-ha, hĕ´a.
 
He´-a-wi-non´-dam-a´-ni,
Man´-i-dō´ mi-de´-wi-he´
ne´-ma-da´-wi-dzig´.
     Let them hear, Midē´ spirit, those who are sitting around.
[He invokes Ki´tshi Man´idō to make his auditors understand his power.]
 
 
He-a-wi-non´-da-ma-ni hē, He-a-wi-nonda-ma-ni hē;
He´-a-wi-non-da-ma-ni hē, He´-a-wi-non-da-ma-ni hē;
Manidomidēwi hē, Nemadawi dzhig, Heawinondamani hē, hē, hē.
 
He´-a-we-na´ ni´-we-dō´,
Man´-i-dō´ we-a-nī´
Ni´-ka-nā´ ni´-na-nā´.
     He who is sleeping, The Spirit, I bring him, a kinsman.
[In the employment of his powers he resorts to the help of Ki´tshi Man´idō—his kinsman or Midē´ colleague.]
 
 
He-a-we-na-ne-we-dō, hō, He-a-we-na-ne-we-dō, hō,
He-a-we-na-ne-we-dō, hō, He-a-we-na-ne-we-dō, hō;
Ma´-ni-dō-we-a-ni ni-ka-na ni-ka-na, hō, hō.
 
Man´-i-dō´ we-a-nī´
Esh-ke´-ta we´-a-nĭ´ man´-i-dō´ we´-a-nĭ´.
     I am a spirit, Fire is my spirit body.
[The hand reaches to the earth to grasp fire, showing his ability to do so without injury and illustrating in this manner his supernatural power.]
 
 
Ma´ni-dō´wi-a-ni hē, Ma´ni-dō´wi-a-ni hē, Ma´-ni-dō´-wi-a-ni hē,
Ma´-ni-dō´-wi-a-ni hē, Ma´-ni-dō´wi-a-ni hē;
Esh´kato´weani hē, Ma´nidō´wiani hē, Ma´nidō´wia-ni hē.
 
Ai-ya´-swa-kĭt-te´, hē´, he´,
He´-ā´ se-wī´-kit-te´, hē´, hē´
Na-se´-ma-gŏt´ nin-dē´.
     It is leaning,
     My heart breathes.
[The phrase refers to the mī´gis within his heart. The short radiating lines indicate the magic power of the shell.]
 
 
He´-a-si-wi-kit-te hē, He´-a-si-wi-kit-te hē, He´a-si-wikit-te hē,
He´a-si-wi-kit-te hē, Na´simagot nin´de hē, He´-a-si-wi-kit-te hē,
He´-a-si-wi-kit-te hē, He´-a-si-wi-kit-te hē´, He´a-si-wi-kitte hē.
Rest, or pause, after which dancing accompanies the remainder of the song.
Ni-ka´-nin-ko´-tshi´-ha ni´-ka-na
Ni-ka´-na-nin-ko´-tshi-ha.
     Midē´ friends, I am trying, Midē´ friends, Midē´ friends, I am trying.
[His hand and arm crossed by lines to denote magic power, in reaching to grasp more than four degrees have given him; he has in view a fifth, or its equivalent.]
 
Ni´-ka-ni ko´tshiha Ni´ka-ni ha,
Ni´-ka-ni ko´tshini Ni´-ka-ni ha,
Ni´-ka-ni ko´-tshi-ha Ni´-ka-ni ha.
 
Hi´-ne-na-wa´ ni-be´-i-dōn´ ni-di´-na.
     I hold that which I brought, and told him.
The singer is holding the mī´gis and refers to his having its power, which he desires Ki´tshi Man´idō to augment.
 
He-ne-na-wa-ni-bei-dōn, He-ne-na-wa-ni-bei-dōn,
He-ne-na-wa-ni-bei-dōn, He-ne-na-wa-ni-bei-dōn.
 
Ye´-we-ni´-mi-dē´, hwa´, da´, Ke-wa´-shi-mi-dē´, hĭ-a, hwē´,
Ye´-we-ni´-mi-dē?
     Who is this grand Midē´? You have not much grand medicine.
     Who is the Midē´?
[The first line, when used with the music, is a´-we-nin-o´-au-Midē´. The whole phrase refers to boasters, who have not received the proper initiations which they profess. The figure is covered with mī´gis shells, as shown by the short lines attached to the body.]
 
 
Ye-we-ni-mi-dē hwa, da. Ke-wa-shi-mi-dē hĭa, hwē,
Ye-we-ni-mi-dē hwa, da. Ke-wa-shi-mi-dē hĭa, hwe.
Ye-we-ni-mi-dē, Ye-we-ni-mi-dē hwa, da.
 
Nai´-a-na-wi´ na-ma´, ha´, Wa-na´-he-ne-ni-wa´, ha´,
O´-ta-be-we-ni´, mē´, hē´.
     I can not reach it, Only when I go round the Midē´wigân; I can not
     reach it from where I sit.
[The mī´gis attached to the arrow signifies its swift and certain power and effect. The first line of the phrase, when spoken, is nin-na´-na-wi-nan´.]
 
 
Nai-a-na-wi-na-ma ha, Nai-a-na-wi-na-ma ha,
Nai-a-na-wi-na-ma ha, Nai-a-na-wi-na-ma ha,
Wa-na-he-ne-ni-wa ha, O-ta-be-we-ni-me ha.
 
Ai-yā´ ha´-na-wi´-na-ma´.
     I can not strike him.
The speaker is weeping because he can not see immediate prospects for further advancement in the acquisition of power. The broken ring upon his breast is the place upon which he was shot with the mī´gis.
 
 
Ai-ya-ha-na-wi-na-ma, Ai-ya-ha-na-wi-na-ma,
Ai-ya-ha-na-wi-na-ma, Ai-ya-ha-na-wi-na—ma, hĕō, hĕō, hĕō.

The following musical notation presents accurately the range of notes employed by the preceptor. The peculiarity of Midē´ songs lies in the fact that each person has his own individual series of notes which correspond to the number of syllables in the phrase and add thereto meaningless words to prolong the effect. When a song is taught, the words are the chief and most important part, the musical rendering of a second person may be so different from that of the person from whom he learns it as to be unrecognizable without the words. Another fact which often presents itself is the absence of time and measure, which prevents any reduction to notation by full bars; e.g., one or two bars may appear to consist of four quarter notes or a sufficient number of quarters and eighths to complete such bars, but the succeeding one may consist of an additional quarter, or perhaps two, thus destroying all semblance of rythmic continuity. This peculiarity is not so common in dancing music, in which the instruments of percussion are employed to assist regularity and to accord with the steps made by the dancers, or vice versa.

In some of the songs presented in this paper the bars have been omitted for the reasons presented above. The peculiarity of the songs as rendered by the preceptor is thus more plainly indicated.

When the chant is ended the ushers, who are appointed by the chief Midē´, leave the inclosure to bring in the vessels of food. This is furnished by the newly elected member and is prepared by his female relatives and friends. The kettles and dishes of food are borne around four times, so that each one present may have the opportunity of eating sufficiently. Smoking and conversation relating to the Midē´wiwin may then be continued until toward sunset, when, upon an intimation from the chief Midē´, the members quietly retire, leaving the structure by the western door. All personal property is removed, and upon the following day everybody departs.


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The Midē Wiwin or Grand Medicine Society, 1891

The Midē Wiwin or Grand Medicine Society

 

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